Thursday February 7, 2013
Last day of G. Start of a new adventure
Hopefully this is the last day of having to get up so early. We were up at 5:30 to pack for the flight, get an envelope made up of three currencies, Kip, Dong and Dollars for Andy, and have breakfast before our taxi ride to the airport.
Breakfast was mediocre but at least the wi-fi is working downstairs. Very slowly but working. I can't pull up our flight to Phuket so we will find out about it when we get to the airport. Have I said enough how much I dislike this hotel?
We met Sharon and Greg and went to the front desk to order a taxi. We had been told not to use one of the taxis that are always loitering on the street in front of the hotel but to have the hotel call us a different taxi to come for us. The hotel staffer that we asked deliberately looked dumb and would not call us a taxi but told us to just get one out by the street. Luckily as the last good deed he needed to preform for us Andy again came to the rescue. He had come to see us off, and get his envelope. he got the reluctant (lazy? poorly trained?) staffer to order us a taxi. We had also been told that it should cost us about 320 baht per taxi, not per person, to go to the airport. We were to make sure that the driver used the meter and didn't set a straight price. The taxi driver was indignant and wanted 500 baht. I was resistant and said no. His argument was that he had to drive back with no passengers so we should pay the 500. That was not my problem and I insisted he turn on the meter. He was very sullen about it. The meter came to 219 baht but we had to pay 95 baht in tolls. In the end we gave him 500 anyway to give him a tip and to cover his tolls on the way back. We are so soft.
I feel bad for Andy. He has been working for weeks and weeks on end with no breaks. He was never supposed to be our CEO but the guy who was assigned to our tour up and quit with no notice. Now Andy was really looking forward to some holiday time for himself after this tour was over. He had made plans to join his new buddies Ray and Jon for a little holiday for himself but he got called yesterday and now has to lead another group starting Saturday. I don't know how he does it.
We said our goodbyes to Sharon and Greg who were flying Thai airways. We were flying Bangkok Airways, "the boutique airline". Only 9% of their customers are foreign. Again we are probably the only Americans.
The line for check-in was very long but went relatively quickly. We were offered the emergency row at no extra cost. Jeff was happy to get the extra leg room. Security was a breeze. The flight was short and sweet, only 1 1/2 hours but we still got a very nice little snack.
We landed, saw Sharon, got our luggage lickety split and were out looking for a taxi in no time. The posted signs all say that a taxi to Rawai is 750 baht but all of the taxis are sticking with 900, and telling us that the posted signs are old. We weren't going to shop around after being told the same thing three by three different companies. So we just went for it. About 20 minutes into the ride the driver told us that he needed to get our taxi receipt signed (we had to pay up front) and he pulled up to a storefront and disappeared with the receipt. Next thing we knew a woman was in the taxi trying to get us to book activities and to book our taxi ride back to the airport. I know that it is a good business model for them but boy does this stuff get old quickly. We were polite but adamant that we were not committing to anything right now. She sorrowfully shook her head and warned us that we would be paying SO much more at the hotel. We got back on the road but it was a good hour ride to our resort.
We were checked in quickly and escorted to our room. The resort seems pretty nice but our room is perfect. I may not be able to motivate to leave it for long. The bathroom is very simple but oh so elegant. The bedroom is beautifully done. Our sitting area in the bedroom looks out large sliding glass doors to our own private outdoor space with a small pool that connects to the main series of pools. Sigh....
Don't worry dear readers, this time you will get plenty of photos with this journal entry so that you can see the reason for my contentment. After chasing around SE Asia for a month in the grime and the poverty this is heaven. Not that I didn't enjoy the trip because I certainly did and I'm very glad that we did it but this is the perfect counterpoint to that. Too bad we only have three nights here.
The weather is hot and humid but tolerable. Especially with the private pool outside our room. It is 36 degrees centigrade right now. 23 to 25 seems to be my perfect comfort range but I am fine with this. It is certainly better than Bangkok seems at this temperature.
We walked around the hotel, talked to the concierge about booking some activities but didn't commit to anything yet. I know that we should go to Patong for a crazy night out and see the lights and the noise and the ladyboys but the thought of leaving the serenity here is not attractive right now. The snorkeling, sea kayak, star light tour I thought that I wanted to go on is available but we would be gone from 10 to 10 and I can't do that right now. Maybe if we had booked a week here.
We passed the Internet room here. I got so excited that I could barely stand it. They had a library of about six dozen books that you could "borrow"! My excitement died quickly when I looked more closely at the individual books to see if there was one that I wanted to read. Not a single one of them was printed in English! What a tease.
We had a light snack of chicken satay at the Jamaica (?!) pool restaurant. Service was polite, good and fast. The food we had was excellent. The peanut sauce perfect. I had a mango Margarita- here's to you Phyl-that was scrumptious. Si it was tequila not vodka. Shrug. I can be flexible when I need to be. My drink was not too sweet, there was no margarita mix in it.
Jeff and I chose a boat tour for Saturday and he went to book it and explore the nearby surroundings. I couldn't bear to leave my perfect cocoon so I stayed behind.
We had a buffet dinner at the hotel. There was a guitar player/singer who backed himself up with canned music. I would have preferred a good recording to his performance. The food wasn't bad but I couldn't do it the justice that it deserved. The couple at the next table over from us reminded me of Jeff and myself. The woman seemed to be enjoying the food and the man just drank beer and while I can't exactly say that he was glowering he also didn't exactly seem to be enjoying himself. That is describing the scenario in a polite way. The man did seem very patient as long as he had a fresh beer in front of him.
I'm still so worn out that we left before the dancing girls came to entertain us. I'd like to try and get up early to see the sunrise at the working fishing beach just down the road from our hotel. Apparently I am a glutton for punishment. We'll have to see how that goes.